Associate Contributor: Leon Mayo – Date: 27 Nov 2018

Lexus has always introduced some of the most striking designs in the automotive market. Coupling sharp angles and lines in order to create a vehicle of striking distinction, this is the 2018 Lexus IS 300h, the third generation of Lexus’ best-selling compact sports sedan now available with a self-charging full hybrid powertrain.

IS300-TBKHybrid | Energy

It’s easy to argue that Lexus has been pioneering hybrid electric powertrains right from the start. Before many of the other major automakers even began to think of electric drive components, Japanese brand Lexus were busy developing seriously advanced systems, and this is evident with not only the new Lexus IS 300h, but also the likes of the Lexus RX 450h and the ES 300h which we recently drove on launch in Cape Town.

See our drive in the 2018 ES 300h:

The IS 300h is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine, which is paired to an electric motor and a CVT automatic transmission. A silent take-off lends itself perfectly to what can only be described as a “silky smooth carpet” drive of elegance. The IS 300h is incredibly refined and quiet while on the move with 0-100 km/h being dealt with in 8.4 seconds. There are three driving modes to choose from, including (Eco, Normal and Sport) and the system alters between electric and petrol driving modes in a seamless fashion. I was able to average 6.5l/100 kilometres in fuel economy during my test drive, a very commendable effort for a vehicle of this size, luxury and stature.

For the first time in SA, Lexus has added a hybrid variant to the IS range. In addition, both the hybrid newcomer and the flagship F Sport model become the recipients of Lexus’s innovative Lexus Safety System+. No stranger to hybrid technology, Lexus offers more hybrid vehicles than any other carmaker, essentially giving customers the best of both worlds – cutting-edge petrol propulsion supplemented by instantaneous electric power. The IS 300h lends itself to a very relaxing and elegant drive, remaining more comfortable, yet less sporty than the likes of the BMW 3-Series upon which it competes.

As with all Lexus self-charging hybrids, the IS 300h is a full hybrid that can be driven in petrol-electric or pure electric modes at slower traffic speeds.

Safety First

In keeping with the luxury elements of Lexus, comes the wealth of safety systems packaged within the new IS model. Safety systems and comfort technologies include:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Pre-Crash Safety System
  • LED Headlights with Auto High Beam
  • Adaptive Cruise Control

Interior Appointment

Lexus always pulls out all the stops when it comes to interior cabin spaces and the IS 300h, certainly leaves little to be desired. Worthy of special mention is the new-to-the-IS precision, laser-etched, dark wood trim inserts with aluminium pinstriping first seen on the RX.


From incredibly soft leather seats, to ease of access to the large 10.3-inch multimedia display and cabin controls, this latest comer to the IS model range features an interior as premium as the image which its exterior portrays.

IS 300h  Quick Details:

Engine: 2494cc four-cylinder petrol and electric motor

Power/Torque: 223bhp

0-100km/h: 8.4 seconds

Transmission: CVT Automatic

Body Style: Saloon

Boot Space: 450 litres


The IS 300h comes packed with many features as standard:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Run Flat Tyres
  • Drive Mode Select
  • Smart entry and push-button start
  • Perforated leather upholstery
  • Electric Power windows
  • Electric mirrors with auto-folding function linked to central locking
  • Electrochromatic rearview mirror
  • Dual-zone climate control air conditioning with electrostatic temperature control switches
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED brake lights and rear lights
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Hill Assist Control
  • 10-speaker Lexus display audio with DAB digital tuner and Bluetooth
  • 2 x USB, 1 x Aux-in
  • 10.3-inch multimedia display screen with remote dial controller
  • Lexus Safety System+  comprising Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Crash System, Lane Keeping Assist and LED Automatic High Beam as well as Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Eight airbags including kneebags
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Heated and Cooling front seats (driver and passenger)
  • Reversing camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Lexus Navigation

In Conclusion 

The Lexus IS 300h is a unique compact executive sedan package which offers something different to its closest class rivals. Striking sharp lines coupled with a silky, powerful and elegant ride makes for a vehicle which is certainly built to impress from so many angles.

SA Pricing & Warranty

The new Lexus IS retail prices are:

IS 300 EX – R715,000

IS 300h SE – R753,800

IS 350 F SPORT – R806,400

Furthermore, Lexus has expanded customer care for all IS models, offering customers a standard, best-in-class 7-year/105 000km warranty and full maintenance plan. The vehicle service intervals are at every 15 000km, alternatively once a year.

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